TEAPOTS AND TEA MAKERS
Making tea is an art, and by tea I mean the brew from the camellia sinensis leaves.
(I will cover herbal teas or tisanes in a separate article). The most important ingredient in making tea is quality tea leaves. It matters not how artistic, or how ceremonial you are at making tea, quality tea leaves will determine the taste of your brew. This goes for both loose leaf tea and tea made from tea bags.
Another important ingredient in the tea-brewing process is the temperature of the
water you use. Lukewarm water will certainly not bring out the flavour in any tea. While the ideal temperature will depend on the type of tea to be brewed, boiling water should be used for Oolong tea, and black tea. Slightly cooler water can be used to brew the more delicate green and white teas
But in addition to the quality of the tea you select, and the temperature of the water you use, there is another item that is very important to the tea-making process. It is the equipment used. A teapot or tea-maker is very necessary. And yes, you can make tea in a cup or mug; there is nothing wrong with doing so if you are making a quick cup of tea for yourself and you plan to drink just a single cup—that would be practical. But what if you are using loose tea leaves? What if you have friends over and you want to offer them a cuppa? In cases like these it could be a pretty messy procedure to make tea using cups, and you and your guest could end up with mouthfuls of bitter tea leaves! To make and serve quality tea without too much fuss, the best thing to do is to use a proper tea maker.
A proper tea-maker is important for a number of reasons. When hot water is poured on
tea leaves they slowly expand to several times their dry size. To accommodate this, the tea-maker should have enough room, therefore the size is key. This is one of the reasons why making tea in a cup is not ideal. If you customarily make tea for two or three people, there is no need to purchase a twelve-cup teapot, merely purchase one that suits your needs.
Another thing to consider is the type of material your tea-maker is made from. Today they can be made from elegant porcelain, clear glass, stainless steel, and ceramic. While your personal preference is important—you may opt for elegance, beauty or even a conversation piece—you should bear in mind whether it pours well, it’s easy to handle, how heavy it is, and if it becomes to hot to hold. Of course you should consider how much time and energy you want to expend on keeping it clean. A glass teapot will get stained eventually, but it can be cleaned easily with a good rub and a mild soap. Stainless steel pots can also be cleaned easily with soap. Do not put crockery type ceramic and fine China teapots in the dishwasher.
Today, with such an inordinate amount of teapots and tea makers on the market, it can be daunting to decide which one to buy. We hope the ideas mentioned above will assist you in your shopping venture.